Ah, the open sky, one of the last frontiers of the planet. Floating through the sky on a perfect fall day can feel like a fantasy for many, but this November, you’ll be able to look up and see a very curios sight.
The skies over Mercedes will be filled with hot air balloons soon as the South Texas Balloon Festival blows into the Valley on November 20th. The festival is the first of its kind in the Valley and is modeling itself after Albuquerque’s wildly successful International Balloon Fiesta, which draws over 150,000 visitors per year.
Promoters chose the City of Mercedes as it provided the perfect combination of favorable wind patterns and unobstructed views of the sky. Based around the RGV Livestock Showgrounds, the festival will provide fun for the entire family and an experience completely unique in the Valley.
More importantly, patrons will be able to experience full balloon rides, both commercial and tethered, during the entire weekend. Commercial balloon flights are untethered and piloted by licensed pilots who will take patrons on unique paths around the city.
Due to FAA regulations and general safety, commercial balloons are only allowed to fly after sunrise and before sunset, so show up early.
Families can also enjoy tethered balloon rides. Rides will be available all day, depending on weather, and will cost $20 per adult and $10 per child. Balloons are securely tethered to the ground and can go as high as 25 to 100 feet in the air, depending on conditions.
Doors for the event open at 5 PM on Friday, November 20th and goes on until midnight. On Saturday, November 21st, doors will open at 5 AM and go on until midnight. On closing day, Sunday, November 22nd, doors will open at 5 AM and close at 4 PM.
Tickets to the fair grounds are $10 for adults, $5 for children 3-12 and free for children 2 and under. College students with proper ID, military and seniors can all get tickets for $5.
Don’t miss the chance to experience this truly unique Valley event, and be sure to look up and take in the awesome sight that will fill the skies this November.